Chasing The Sunset

Posted: Saturday, July 20, 2013 at 8:30 pm
By: Doug Lund

I made a sort of half promise to myself before departing on this, our latest Keloland/Holiday Vacations tour to Alaska; quit complaining about the negative side of  air travel these days. And, to be honest, the flights that brought us here to Anchorage, were just fine. We were an hour late leaving Denver because of mechanical issues but it was no biggie. I had a window seat this time which not only provides a place to lay my weary head as I try, without much success, to grab some sleep, but on this occasion I was able to watch a six hour sunset from 35 thousand feet. Through the miracle of a jetliner’s speed and the rotation of the earth, we left Denver at Dusk and arrived 5 and a half hours later at dusk in the land of the Midnight Sun.

Once again, we have a terrific group on the tour and have been paired up with a few familiar faces from Holiday Vacations. Our tour guide, Teresa, was our guide to Ireland last summer. Our motor coach driver, Todd was our Alaska driver two summers ago. He’s a real hoot and laughs at all my corny jokes. Another Holiday Vacations group..mostly made up of folks from Iowa, is making the same tour. Their guide, Dave, was our fearless leader last time in Alaska. It was really fun for Linda and me catching up with him too.

Saturday morning started out warm but rainy as we traveled South of Anchorage along Turnagain Arm. Suddenly the sun broke through revealing the ChugashMountain range in all its splendor. Our main stop for the day was Alaska’s premier ski area and a ride to the mountain tops aboard an aerial tramway that had my not-comfortable-with-heights wife more than a little nervous. But the ride was smooth and spectacular. Linda actually appeared to enjoy herself perhaps for no other reason than, once again, she has stood up to a major phobia and survived with her typical smile. No one could ask for a better travel companion.

Tomorrow we depart early for the journey to Denali National Park where on Monday we hope see lots of bears and moose and other wildlife that call this wilderness home. We’re especially hopeful that the sunshine will continue to follow our path allowing us a full view of the mighty MountMcKinley which tends to be enveloped in clouds about two thirds of the time.

Following are a few photos from the day with more to follow as our adventure continues.

Hard to miss our brightly adorned motor coach. Here's a quick photo stop at Turnagain Arm.

Hard to miss our brightly adorned motor coach. Here’s a quick photo stop at Turnagain Arm.

Linda enjoying the first rays of the sun on what turned out to be a beautiful day.

Linda enjoying the first rays of the sun on what turned out to be a beautiful day.

The Kraft boys from Hoven. This is the fourth time that Roger (on the right) has gone on Holiday Vacation tours that Linda and I have hosted.

The Kraft boys from Hoven. This is the fourth time that Roger (on the right) has gone on Holiday Vacation tours that Linda and I have hosted.

Getting ready to board the tram at Alyeska Ski Resort. It hold up to sixty people.

Getting ready to board the tram at Alyeska Ski Resort. It hold up to sixty people.

Alaska 2013 013

A fun stop to close out the day was at at the world's largest float plane airport just outside of Anchorage. That's our fun driver, Todd on the left.

A fun stop to close out the day was at at the world’s largest float plane airport just outside of Anchorage. That’s our fun driver, Todd on the left.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Goin’ North The Rush Is On

Posted: Thursday, July 18, 2013 at 11:33 am
By: Doug Lund

Thursday evening and I can hear the frustrated voice of Linda in the bedroom muttering under her breath; “These suitcases too damn full. We’ll probably be over the 50 pound limit and have to pay extra.”

It’s the same song she sings every time we’re about to leave on another Keloland/Holiday Vacations tour..which we do on Friday and we’ve always weighed in under the limit. The bed is piled high with a wide variety of clothing and we must decide what we’re going to absolutely need over the next two weeks.  I toss a few things on the pile and in the “to-be-washed” basket figuring I’m good to go. Before long, though, she reminds me that temperatures swing big time in Alaska and the Yukon. I might need more than a couple of Polo shirts and a jacket. Thank God she does fret because, although I’m getting better, I tend to assume that, by now, she knows what we need and it’s no big deal to pack it all up. Of course that’s wrong but, like I said, I’m getting better at realizing it.

Yup, Alaska. This will be our fourth trip to the great white north  and we’re looking forward to the adventure of once again trekking into this amazing country with its majestic mountains and unspoiled wilderness..then boarding a Holland America Cruise Ship and sail South through the Inside Passage.

alaska 2013

Holiday Vacations keeps booking these tours because so many Keloland viewers keep requesting and signing up for them. We have another full group this time including several repeat travelers..for which we’re so grateful.

As always, I’ll have the computer along and  be sharing stories and photos on Keloland.com “Lund at Large” so you can vicariously travel along and, maybe consider going with us next time.

Now, I just hope the airline has enough seat belt extenders.

Thanks Mr. Lalley

Posted: Saturday, July 13, 2013 at 9:50 am
By: Doug Lund

First off, apologies for being so tardy this week. I finally went to a couple favorite places that usually clear my head and provide inspiration; the outside deck at Brandon Golf Course and Dunn Bros. Coffee. For some reason, though, my laptop wouldn’t connect to the WiFi networks at either place. After making doubly sure that it was my machine and not their signal, I concluded that in my zeal to speed up my computer, I clicked a wrong button and disabled its ability to hook up to all wireless networks except for the one at home.  I know just enough about computers to be dangerous. I figured that I’d go to Youtube and follow the instructions provided by geeks in their basements demonstrating ways to delete certain functions that may be slowing my machine down. I try to be wary of those evil geniuses who also lurk there in hopes of planting viruses  just for the fun of it. In the past, I’ve used Youtube videos for instruction on how to properly carve a turkey, improve my putting, shuck corn and, just last week, how to recharge the air conditioning system on our Camaro. (Which, by the way, worked great.)  But some internet nerd has done it to me this time which I need to undo before our tour leaves for Alaska on the 19th.  I can’t go without a working computer so there might be a new one in the budget if I can’t get mine fixed by then.

A few things in the news caught my attention recently including two incidents that  involve the media. One was an ad distributed by AAA called “Great American Vacations” which was distributed across the East Coast.  Notice anything amiss?

north dakota

Of course an apologetic AAA says it’s embarrassed at the faux pas.  North Dakota’s Attorney General has capitalized on the error posting an ad on his Facebook page thanking South Dakota for the generous gift.

Speaking of major screw-ups, this one strikes close to home and makes me embarrassed for some in my profession. San Francisco television station KTVU was first on the air to announce the names of pilots at the helm of last week’s Asiana Airliner that crash landed killing two passengers and injuring several others.  Trouble is, the information came from a Bart Simpson-like crank caller using racist Asian references including  “Captain Sum Ting Wong.”  Apparently somebody at the station did have the common sense to double check their validity and received confirmation from a kid at the National Transportation and Safety Bureau. Eventually, a KTVU staffer realized what was going on and had the anchor apologize for the erroneous report later in the same newscast.  Now, the NTSB is also apologizing for confirming the fake pilot names to KTVU, citing the handiwork of an overzealous summer intern. Good Lord.  Journalism 101; never let being  first take precidence over the importance of being right.  Just ask the Chicago Tribune editor who okayed the 1948 headline “Dewey Defeats Truman” or those TV stations who reported, prematurely, the deaths of presidential press secretary, Jim Brady in the 1981 Reagan Assassination attempt and Congresswoman, Gabby Gifford who also survived a Tucson assassination attempt two years ago.

And, finally, let’s talk about smoking, shall we?

I must say it was refreshing to read something by Argus Leader managing editor, Patrick Lalley, that didn’t directly have something to do with his obsession about riding bicycles. No, this time his weekly column was a call to arms to close a perceived loophole in state law banning smoking in public establishments. In order to accommodate customers who smoke, many restaurants and bars have constructed outdoor  patios for them to enjoy during the short summer season.  In his typical snarky fashion, Mr. Lalley recounts a recent unpleasant experience he and his wife had while opting to dine on one of those patios and occasional wisps of tobacco drifted into their nostrels.

http://www.argusleader.com/article/20130707/COLUMNISTS0111/307070024/Lalley-Loophole-smoking-laws

 

I haven’t smoked cigarettes for years and really wish others could quit but I reject the notion that they be shunned like a  rebellious Amish teenager or painted with a stereotypically wide brush that suggests all smokers are knuckle dragging insensitive clods who, along with restaurants and bars that accommodate them, must be forced into conforming to more acceptable behavior.

There was a time, during his days with the irreverently funny “Tempest” magazine;(in which Keloland TV and me personally were skewered on a regular basis)  Mr. Lalley would have made a mockery of such pomposity. No more.

I wonder what’s next.  Maybe an Argus Leader campaign to force business places to provide more bicycle parking space?

Phil James

Posted: Wednesday, July 3, 2013 at 11:46 am
By: Doug Lund

Received some sad news this week.

Phillip James Ehret has died at his home in Las Vegas.

If that name doesn’t ring a bell, I’m not surprised. It’s been well over twenty years since “Phil James” was synonymous with big band music and ballroom dancing throughout South Dakota, Minnesota and Iowa.

Our paths first crossed in 1968 after I piled my wife and two young daughters into our old Pontiac and headed east from Pierre where I’d spent two years working at the Red Owl grocery store during the day and three nights a week playing drums with organist Grace Lex at the Lariat Lounge.

My wife and I were just kids ourselves at the time and it really didn’t make financial sense to leave a steady job for a bunch of blue sky..but we were homesick as hell.  I was about broke and the 70 bucks a week Urvig Bootery in Brookings paid me for selling shoes was barely enough to keep is in groceries.

That’s when I got the call from Phil who was just back from a stint in the Navy and looking to start a musical combo. Phil had acquired a brand new Hammond X77 organ and looking for a drummer to work some gigs he’d already booked. Somehow he’d heard that I’d played with Grace whose style was not unlike his own. (Think Lawrence Welk, Jimmy Darrel or Lenny Dee”

Well, I wasn’t about to commit to anything on the phone so he invited me over to his folks’ house in Elkton for an audition. I’ll never forget the sound I heard coming from inside as I walked up to the door. It was as if JoAnn Castle or Big Tiny Little Jr. had also stopped by to play a little ragtime piano. The door was open so I went on through the house into a parlor area where I saw Phil sitting at the keyboard of an old upright piano banging out a wonderful rendition of “Music, Music, Music.” When the song ended, we exchanged greetings and I begged him to do another. It was amazing to watch his left hand  swing back and  forth attacking just the right lower notes with such confidence and authority while the fingers of his right had were a blur pounding out the up tempo melody Honky Tonk style. “Baby face..you’ve got the cutest little baby face..”

“Did you bring your drums along?”  Phil asked. “You bet, they’re in the trunk.”  “Well, set ‘em up in the living room, let’s try a few tunes.”  There sat his beautiful instrument humming away with two Leslie Speaker cabinets parked behind.  No sooner had I put the last cymbal on the stand than Phil asked if I knew the Jimmy Darrel version of “Party Doll.”  I said I thought so and thus began a three hour concert right there in the house which, by this time, had filled with family members and neighbors all wanting to hear these two young guys performing THEIR kind of music; foxtrots, polkas and waltzes. Phil’s parents, Charlie and Erma, had literally rolled back the carpet for dancing and the living room was filled with laughter and the aroma of cigarette smoke and cocktails.  Charlie had invited the owner of the Knotty Pine just outside of Elkton to come over and listen which led to our being booked at the steakhouse once a month.  I only made about 30 bucks..but it  sure helped pay the bills. Phil and I played together for about a year when I had the chance to move to Sioux Falls and took it. I found music gigs throughout the 70’s; first working with county bands, then forming my own group which played 6 nights a week for years at the “Red Lantern” located just South of KELO.  Phil, meanwhile, had also moved to Sioux Falls and teamed up with big band drummer, Johnny Soyer.

Phil with Johnny Soyer on drums in the 1970's.

Phil with Johnny Soyer on drums in the 1970′s.

When Johnny and Phil split up he gave me a call wondering if I could fill in on drums for a while. “For a while” turned out to be 8 years performing together at every antler club(Elks/ Moose lodges) and ballroom in the area. That period was, for me, both wonderful and not so great. On the plus side; I’d never known audiences more passionate about dancing and how much they appreciated our musical style. Linda and I made lifelong friends with many of those who followed “Phil James” wherever we played. On the downside, that big Hammond organ was built for the home..not to be hauled around in a bumpy trailer through all kinds of weather or carried up and down stairs at various clubs. The Watertown Elks was the worst. The ballroom was on the fourth floor and while Elks officials always promised to have help available to carry our equipment  more often than not we ended up toting it all ourselves. One night after the job while we were tearing down, the decorative but spindly chrome legs on the organ started to lean over and with a sickening crack the whole thing collapsed like a cheap lawn chair and we ended up loading the rest of the instrument into the trailer like a casket. Eventually, he just left the dolly carts permanently  strapped to each end of the organ.

Performing at one of our regular gigs..the Mitchell Elks Lodge. The fence was to keep the middle age ladies from attacking the musicians.

Performing at one of our regular gigs..the Mitchell Elks Lodge. The fence was to keep the middle age ladies from attacking the musicians.

Phil and I drove thousands of miles through all kinds of climates in his 1976 Cadillac Coupe Deville pulling that trailer; then thousands more in a later model Caddie he bought after the first one pooped out.

I missed playing rock and roll, pop and jazz songs but always said the style of music didn’t matter as long as the crowd was having a good time and, boy, did they ever with Phil at the organ especially when he’d make that Hammond deliver like a full orchestra on numbers such as “Moonlight Serenade” where he’d slide the palm of his left hand up the lower keyboard creating a resounding beautiful arpeggio meeting up with the right hand on the upper register for a dramatic Liberace flourish. Then we’d slip into a bouncy fox trot as he’d dazzle the folks even more with a rendition of “Alley Cat” or “Elmer’s Tune” in which he’d play bass pedals with his feet, harmony with his left hand and bang out the melody with his right on a piano which we put a microphone on and slid up close to the organ. We were always at the mercy of the house pianos being in tune and some were not.. but it only gave a more “Honky Tonk” sound.

Each August, Keloland TV boss, Joe Floyd, would hire us to play for his Okoboji party at the "cabin" which was actually a huge lake shore house. Always lots of VIP's present and beautiful weather.

Each August, Keloland TV boss, Joe Floyd, would hire us to play for his Okoboji party at the “cabin” which was actually a huge lake shore house. Always lots of VIP’s present and beautiful weather.

Phil was not only a fine musician but an excellent cook. In fact, one of the reasons we played in Mitchell so often was because he went to culinary school there and eventually became head chef at the Mitchell Elks.

But, as gifted as Phil was, he had one demon that held him back; alcohol.  I’m no teetotaler, but Phil could be hard core and it affected his playing. One night, after we’d played the same song three times in a row, I’d had enough and, instead of putting my drums and sound system back in the trailer; I squeezed it all into the trunk of my car and said adios.  A few weeks later, he called to tell me he’d been to Hazelden treatment center in Minnesota and asked me to come back which I did and we never sounded better…for a few months. The monkey found its way back to his back and I never knew which Phil was going to show up. Finally, in 1988 we parted for good.  Our final gig was at the country club in Huron. It was one of our best ever.  That was the last time I  saw Phil James. He eventually moved to Las Vegas where I’d heard he was working in the food industry. I don’t know if he ever played another dance or not. I sure hope so ..just as I wish he could have been as happy himself as he made so many thousands of people who just couldn’t keep off the dance floor whenever he’d crank that big old X77 up for a rousing version of “Bubbles In The Wine.”

R.I.P. My Friend.

The Perils of Paula

Posted: Wednesday, June 26, 2013 at 12:36 pm
By: Doug Lund

paula

For those of you who are smugly satisfied at Food Network Star, Paula Deen’s fall from grace after admitting she has used the “N”word in the past; fill in the blank of this little poem:

“Eeny, meeny, miny, moe, catch a ………….. ”

When I was a kid, we all used this counting rhyme every time we chose up sides for a ballgame. I even remember saying it when picking playing partners during Vacation Bible School recess at First Lutheran Church.

During the innocence of our youth, most of us said the forbidden “N” word on occasion; like when dad opened the big can of mixed nuts at Christmas time and we’d all pick out our favorite. I’m not sure I knew the real name for Brazil nuts until high school.

I remember laughing hysterically at Mel Brooks’ “Blazing Saddles” movie..especially how the old lady first greeted the new black sheriff or when the church bell rang covering up the “N” word as Gabby Johnson announced the sheriff’s arrival.

These admissions, I suppose, could get me fired but I, like most of my peers, grew up and realized the insensitivity of certain words and became naturally more sensitive to the feelings of others.

Before having anything to say here about this subject, I wanted to be dang sure of what Deen actually said and what her termination was based upon so I read the entire 140 page transcript of her court deposition in which she and her brother, Bubba, are being sued by a former manager at his restaurant ..Lisa Jackson…for a million and a half dollars claiming she was harassed and worked in an environment rife with innuendo and racial slurs. I would encourage you to read the whole thing for yourself  too before coming to any conclusions based on hyped-up tabloid TV or internet headlines.  What I took from her interrogation was that if anybody should be charged with harassment it would be Jackson’s lawyer for the way he treated Deen in the witness chair.

The deposition transcript HERE.

The bottom line is that Deen grew up in the deep south during the 50’s and 60’s in the days of state mandated segregation.  Changing old habits and attitudes probably came a lot harder for her than for somebody like me up north whose cultural diversity was limited to Norwegians and Dutch. I don’t know Paula Deen but have appreciated her story of  building a business with nothing more than a dream, hard work and determination which eventually resulted in the phenominal success she’s enjoyed.  A Facebook friend of mine who works in network TV recounted a recent backstage meeting with Deen who was about to appear on a talk show. He said he was surprised that she still enjoyed her cigarettes but was as sweet as sassafras tea on camera and off.  And, from watching her cooking show over the years, that’s been my impression of the lady too; a genuine, fun loving, caring mom of two fine sons who, yes, might even laugh at an occasional naughty joke. She certainly doesn’t deserve to be railroaded out of a career for admitting that she has used the “N” word in her past but not for a long long time.

It’s just a puzzle to me how most Americans dream of achieving personal and financial success and yet, when somebody else actually does it, we can’t wait to see them crumble like a dried up cookie.

On its web and Facebook sites, The Food Network is getting blasted by viewers for the  hasty decision to dump Paula Deen.  Good.

I can’t help but wonder if there’s not more to it than what we’re hearing.  At 66, could it be that the network feels Paula is becoming too old to attract the dream viewer demographic? Maybe she should get together with Emeril Lagasse on a discrimination lawsuit of their own.  You remember that Emeril was cruising along with his popular nightly live cooking show when “Bam” he was cancelled.  Two people who played a major role in building The Food Network suddenly out on their ear..along with their high salaries.

I’ve watched Paula Deen since her first appearance on TV when she was taking part in a program called “Door Knock Dinners.” I marveled at how she gently and respectfully visited with folks who were sometimes reluctant to allow a TV crew into their home to make a gourmet meal from what was in the cupboards and fridge.  As outgoing as Paula Deen has been on her many television and personal appearances over the last dozen years, I don’t believe she’s a good enough actress to be concealing a true personality filled with bigotry and hate.

If you’re not convinced, there’s the rock pile..start casting.

Say Cheesy

Posted: Wednesday, June 19, 2013 at 1:53 pm
By: Doug Lund

Just enjoyed a delicious stir fry with veggies picked from our own garden. Okay, it was just a green pepper from the one potted pepper plant on our back step but it couldn’t have been more fresh or tasty thanks to the creative efforts of God and Linda.  I’d show you a picture but it recently dawned on me that I’ve perhaps been photographically illustrating these blogs to the point of copping out; making it nearly unnecessary to write much of anything.  I’ve always believed that as the late Eric Severeid once said, “A well chosen word is worth a thousand pictures.”

Speaking of pictures, I’m really puzzled about why so many people are enamored with  “Instagram.”  I really don’t know much about it other than it’s an app for smart phones that, unfortunately, allows you to use a bunch of different filters to “artistically” alter the original image; giving a perfectly good digital photograph an old timey look or screw around with the color.  One of my favorite writers is Minneapolis Star Tribune columnist and noted blogger, James Lileks. He’s also a pretty fair photographer. Here’s how he feels about “Instagram”; feelings that echo my own.

“Nostalgia may be experienced legitimately. It should never be manufacturedThis isn’t even about using the filters that crappify the image. It takes something contemporary and makes it look as if it’s old, which it cannot possibly be. The only reason it sums up some vague sense of nostalgia is because you’ve been told that’s what old photos looked like. They didn’t look like that at first. In fact they were quite colorful, and didn’t look as if they’d been dipped in urine for a week.” 

I’m sure some of my Facebook friends who are fascinated by “Instagram” will take exception to my assessment of the feature but I have personal reasons for never wanting to revert back to old technology when it comes to taking pictures. (I’ll explain in a minute.)  In the late fifties early sixties, people..including me..were absolutely amazed when Polaroid introduced a process in which film was actually developed right in the camera; 10 seconds for black and white..color in a minute.  Polaroid was a big advertiser on “live” programs like the Tonight Show with both Jack Paar and Steve Allen. Below are several examples of live commercials. It runs 22 minutes so when you’ve grown weary of them..click the pause button and read on.

YouTube Preview Image

But, you paid dearly for the luxury of instant  photos; over 75 bucks plus the cost of film. And, to be honest, the quality never lived up to the convenience; a lesson I learned after our first daughter was born in 1965. We wanted baby pictures, of course, but instead of going with the tried and true Kodak brand, I bought a cheap new version of a Polaroid called the “Swinger.”  It was twenty bucks, made of plastic and only took wallet sized black and white pictures. So, as a result of my cheapness..while other young parents were getting beautiful Kodachrome images of their children, me and my Swinger were capturing those precious once-in-a-lifetime shots with crap quality like this:

 

Suzan asleep in her crib. Isn't that a great shot? The Swinger camera ruined a lot of memories for millions.

Suzan asleep in her crib. Isn’t that a great shot? The Swinger camera ruined a lot of memories for millions.

I wouldn’t be surprised if “Instagram” offers a Polaroid Swinger filter and some of you will be tempted to actually use it. I just hope you’re not taking pictures of your kids when you do.

 

Well, here I am talking about my perceived problems with posting too many pictures and yet I recall promising a couple shots of our weekend at Aberdeen’s Arts in the Park in which I rejoined Mogen’s Heroes for six shows..even dusting off my drums which have been tucked away in a corner of the garage for ages. All of the following photos are courtesy of John’s Nikon digital camera with a big lens. I appreciate the discretion used by John’s lovely wife, Sue in avoiding full body shots of yours truly.

A fine day and a fine turnout at Aberdeen's arts in the park. That's Denny Gale on Guitar and John Mogen on Keyboard.

A fine day and a fine turnout at Aberdeen’s arts in the park. That’s Denny Gale on Guitar and John Mogen on Keyboard.

The weather was perfect but the park was a little slanty. L to R: Linda, Me, Karen Gale, Sue Mogen, Denny Gale.

The weather was perfect but the park was a little slanty. L to R: Linda, Me, Karen Gale, Sue Mogen, Denny Gale.

The girls ducked for cover during a brief shower.

The girls ducked for cover during a brief shower.

 

Linda and I are off to Minnesota this weekend to celebrate anniversaries and a birthday with our pals, Denny and Joan. Then, I gotta lose 50 pounds before our Alaska trip next month.

“My cup runneth over.” (Dave Dedrick)

The Drumming Angler

Posted: Friday, June 14, 2013 at 2:40 pm
By: Doug Lund

My usual sedentary lifestyle has taken a turn toward the wild side this week; two days of fishing for walleye on the Missouri River and a non-stop weekend of playing drums and singing with Mogen’s Heroes first for an event at Willow Run and then headed for Aberdeen for Saturday and Sunday shows at the Arts Festival in Melgaard Park. I hear they have a stand that offers deep fried cheesecake this year. As good as that sounds, I’d trade it for cool temperatures and a bit of a breeze. Anyway, we’ll be playing shows at 11, 1 and 3 both days.

When last we briefly spoke, I was about to embark on my second day of fishing on the Missouri River. After only catching a couple small ones on Wednesday, my hopes weren’t all that high but right away, I started getting action. Several undersize ones at first but that’s okay I just enjoy the catch. But then..well, let the pictures do the talking.

 

Even when the fish were on break, it is so soothing to be out on the water.

Even when the fish were on break, it is so soothing to be out on the water.

 

Ft. Randall Dam in the background while my brother in law, Swede, gets ready to land another lunker.

Ft. Randall Dam in the background while my brother in law, Swede, gets ready to land another lunker.

Part of the deal is that Swede doesn't  mind cleaning the keepers. That's his Lund boat in the background. And, yes, I have checked and no relation.

Part of the deal is that Swede doesn’t mind cleaning the keepers. That’s his Lund boat in the background. And, yes, I have checked and no relation.

Day two..different story..Swede got to clean my 17 incher. Biggest of the day.

Day two..different story..Swede got to clean my 17 incher. Biggest of the day.

 

The girls fished with us Thursday. That's Linda's sister in the orange. They had so much fun. I believe Linda is saying to me, "you're not going to put this picture int he blog are you?" I probably said, "Of course not."

The girls fished with us Thursday. That’s Linda’s sister, Renee, in the orange. They had so much fun. I believe Linda is saying to me, “you’re not going to put this picture in the blog are you?” I probably said, “Of course not.”

I’ll bring the camera along to Aberdeen. If you’re of a mind to..stop by and check out Mogen’s Heroes making music. I’ll be the guy playing the drums and sweating profusely. Say hi and give me a bite of your funnel cake.

Oh, and a very happy Father’s Day to all you dads out there.

Thinking of mine for sure. Here’s a photo I found of dad holding me in 1946.

scan0005

Gone Fishin’

Posted: Thursday, June 13, 2013 at 7:59 am
By: Doug Lund

Here we are in Lake Andes, South Dakota about to depart the Circle H motel for another day on Lake Francis Case in search of the  wylie Walleye, which, save for a couple of “dinks” that found my line, have managed to skip the nite crawler lunch I offer on my hook..opting instead for the minnow my brother in law, Swede, presents on his. It’s a long time between bites and just three keepers in the boat; all caught by Swede. Today Linda and her sister, Renee will  join us on board after their day-long and unsuccessful attempt to divest the Ft. Randall Casino if its assets.

Sorry this is short. I brought the camera along and have taken several photos but in our haste to leave town, I forgot to bring along the cord for uploading the pictures on my laptop. I’ll post a few of those and continue with tales of our angling efforts when we get home tomorrow.

A Good Day Up Nort’

Posted: Friday, June 7, 2013 at 1:29 pm
By: Doug Lund

Whenever I’m out and about which is, admittedly, not all that often, people come up and reminisce about my time on Keloland News and invariably ask about what Steve Hemmingsen is up to these days. Well, I can report that Steve is alive and well in his adoptive hometown of Hendricks, Minnesota living with his black lab Cockle-bur in the lake house he built himself over thirty years ago. He’s since transformed the place from a summer cabin into a very comfortable year round home on one of the sweetest lots along the Hendricks shoreline. Since moving there full time, Steve has really gotten involved in the community especially all the unique things the locals do to keep their little town of around 800 alive and relevant. He’s been a real advocate for the successful effort to keep the high school from closing and merging with nearby Ivanhoe.  Ever the reporter,  Steve had been writing a column for the local newspaper and producing a program about Hendricks on the local cable TV access channel. Then he got the idea to write a Hendricks newsletter..distributing it by e-mail.  It’s filled with photos, current events and gossip along with a bit of Hemmingsen editorializing on issues he feels strongly about. His newsletter has gotten so popular among the folks in and around Hendricks, that his circulation is quickly approaching that of the Hendricks weekly newspaper.

Anyway, since it was such a lovely spring day, I decided to jump in the Camaro and head north to spend it with Steve and check out some of the people and places he writes about.

(Oops, wait a sec. Linda just brought me a Ball Jar filled with a lovely bouquet of fragrant lilacs snipped from the plants around our back deck. For some reason they haven’t flowered for a couple years but are more than making up for it this spring. Wow what a treat for the senses.  I’d take a picture but it’s the amazing aroma that I’d love to share but can’t.)

I got as far as Dell Rapids before the sun disappeared and it started to drizzle. So I pulled over..put the top up..the heater on..and pressed forward. Upon arriving, Steve took me to “The Local” for lunch. It was pizza buffet day and the place was packed;  mostly with young guys from South Africa of all places who were hungry as hounds. (More about that ahead.)


hendricks 009

Steve doesn't play golf but, like so many others in Hendricks, he uses a golf cart to buzz around town. The popularity of Golf carts is no doubt due to the fact that one of the country's largest golf cart distributors, Ness Brothers (NB) is headquartered in Hendricks.

Steve doesn’t play golf but, like so many others in Hendricks, he uses a golf cart to buzz around town. The popularity of Golf carts is no doubt due to the fact that one of the country’s largest golf cart distributors, Ness Brothers (NB) is headquartered in Hendricks.

hendricks 002

For dessert, we popped in to Don's Bakery next door to The Local. I ordered two  delicious-looking apple fritters..then forgot them in Steve's golf car.

For dessert, we popped in to Don’s Bakery next door to The Local. I ordered two delicious-looking apple fritters..then forgot them in Steve’s golf car.

Just down the street is another ambitious project; the restoration of the old Hendricks Creamery into a micro brewery. The owners hope to provide at least four different brews when the place is up and running.

Just down the street is another ambitious project; the restoration of the old Hendricks Creamery into a micro brewery. The owners hope to provide at least four different brews when the place is up and running.

The Hendricks school never really had a gymnastics program. Gary and Sherri Johnson didn't think that was right so, on their own, built a gym on their farm and Hendricks now has some real up and coming gymnasts leaping and flipping and balancing their way into history.

The Hendricks school never really had a gymnastics program. Gary and Sherri Johnson didn’t think that was right so, on their own, built a gym on their farm and Hendricks now has some real up and coming gymnasts leaping and flipping and balancing their way into history.

Oh, all those South African guys at the Local work for this guy, Chad Olsen who started a small custom combining operation a few years ago and now is one of the largest operators in the country.

Oh, all those South African guys at the Local work for this guy, Chad Olsen who started a small custom combining operation a few years ago and now is one of the largest operators in the country.

This is just a few of the 80 or so combines he runs..along with all of the trucks and support gear. He hires the South African guys because they're hard workers, make double the money they would back home and tend to stay on the job the entire season

This is just a few of the 80 or so combines he runs..along with all of the trucks and support gear. He hires the South African guys because they’re hard workers, make double the money they would back home and tend to stay on the job the entire season

Another Hendricks business that's undergone a recent renovation is Cedrics Bar and Find Dining. Our final stop.

Another Hendricks business that’s undergone a recent renovation is Cedrics Bar and Fine Dining. Our final stop.

Funny, we hardly talked about TV at all except to agree just how lucky we both are to have shared a career together.

Funny, we hardly talked about TV at all except to agree just how lucky we both are to have shared a career together.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Twist On Twister Science

Posted: Tuesday, June 4, 2013 at 10:09 am
By: Doug Lund

Okay, I get it.

Stop being such a gloomy gus, Lund.

Sheesch.

Not easy to do when it’s primarily the weather that’s got you down in the first place and , once again as I write this, it’s dark as dusk outside with claps of thunder in the distance. So now the month of June is following May’s lead and before you know it..well, enough already.

I’m actually nursing a very sunburned snout after trying to soak up a little too much of Sunday’s rare sunshine. Linda and I took a convertible drive over to the Strawbale Winery near Renner which is just the perfect spot to be on a beautiful day. Rather than just talk about it, here are a couple photos I took:

Strawbale's big yard with a brand new storm proof timber-frame bandstand. Lots of chairs provided.

Strawbale’s big yard with a brand new storm proof timber-frame bandstand. Lots of chairs provided.

 

Strawbale founder, Don South, visits with customers inside the tasting room.

Strawbale founder, Don South, visits with customers inside the tasting room.

Susie South mixes up a beverage for Sangria Sunday.

Susie South mixes up a beverage for Sangria Sunday.

Nothing like wine, my woman and a song to make a Sunday special.

Nothing like wine, my woman and a song to make a Sunday special.

 

 

I wouldn’t want to work for the Oklahoma Tourism office this year. The wonderful musical by Rogers and Hammerstein said plenty about  Oh, what beautiful mornings with a bright yellow haze on the meadow and corn as high as an elephant’s eye but nothing about being home to an alley where tornadoes regularly show up like a bunch of street thugs destroying anything and anyone in their path. Twice now, in the last couple weeks, areas in and around Oklahoma City have been hit by huge twisters  pulverizing people and property.   Friday, three noted mobile meteorologists with a reputation for getting up close and personal with tornadoes, got too close and perished.

 

(L to R) Carl Young, Tim Samaras, Paul Samaras. (CNN photo)

(L to R) Carl Young, Tim Samaras, Paul Samaras. (CNN photo)

Tim Samaras, his son Paul and Carl Young were stars of the now defunct Discovery Channel series, “Storm Chasers” which followed teams of “scientists” as they ventured into the eye of the storm in weird looking vehicles laden with the latest electronic gadgetry designed for finding and tracking tornado-producing storm clouds. Then, they get as close as “safely” possible, take thrilling videos that will really awe TV audiences, maybe drop some scientific saucers in the cyclone’s path to be sucked up in the storm  to hopefully reveal all kids of previously unknown information, then get the hell out of there making sure to leave the cameras rolling and audio up high so as to record the profanity-laced bleeped reactions of the crew in retreat.  I’ve always been skeptical of the actual science these close encounters provide so I called my pal and longtime colleague, Jay Trobec..chief meteorologist for Keloland TV. He told me that of all the storm chasing celebrities, Tim Samaras, was the most dedicated to finding out what made storms tick. “Tim was one of the few chasers who would call the Storm Center when he was on the scene of tornadoes in our area giving us detailed on-the-ground information of the twister’s path so we could inform and warn our viewers. He was especially helpful when the F-5 wiped out Manchester. All of us weather guys would really like to cut down on the number of ‘false alarms’ during storms. Tim’s research has helped in that effort.  Ironically, Jay said, of all the people out there, Tim seemed the most concerned about safety and not putting himself or his crew in potentially fatal situations. Then for this to happen. It’s just sad.”

I asked Jay whether the death of his friends in Oklahoma would make him think twice about sending our TV meteorologists out in the Keloland storm chasing vehicle, “Dorothy”

“I never ask our guys to go into really dangerous situations,” Jay said. “All we really want is to confirm what we’re seeing on Doppler radar so we can get the word out to viewers. There’s no need to drive into the storm’s path.”

The truth is, just about everybody…including me..is fascinated at seeing  close-up pictures of tornadoes. Some TV network operations, including CNN, will pay to acquire amateur video which, of course, has helped spawn a crop of dare devils willing to risk life and limb for a big thrill and a few bucks.

So, the question remains, does the “science” provided by storm chasers, actually save lives?

Mike Eilts, head of Weather Decision Technologies in Oklahoma, used to be a storm chaser but, as he recently told CNN,  lookie-loos have become more dangerous than funnel clouds.

“These days,” Eilts says, what I’m afraid of are car after car, parallel parked on highway shoulders, with droves of people stretching their arms into the air, trying to capture the ‘money shot.’

“I call it ‘tornado zoo.’ They think they can just drive up like it’s a lion on the other side of the cage. They take a picture or video of it, not thinking that the whole thing can expand in literally seconds, a new suction spot can come out, and you have no time to react to that kind of thing.”

Eilts does believe that the science gleaned from dedicated storm chasers has and continues to be helpful in predicting the personality of tornadoes.

I’m not so sure, though, if it matters all that much what goes on inside a tornado. Sure, the data is interesting but a twister will always be unpredictable with various degrees of ferociousness.

My REAL safety concern is the antiquated EAS warning system which automatically breaks into broadcasts, often when Jay is showing actual live radar and hi-tech images of the actual storm.  When time is critical, EAS supersedes everything with that annoying computer voice reciting dated information at such a snail’s pace that any twister could have done it’s worst and moved on before the warning is through.  I wrote about it last year. Sioux Falls Cable boss, Tom Simmons was one of those who commented and explained. You can call  up the blog by clicking here.

June is traditionally a bad month for tornadoes in Keloland..hopefully you’ll let the pros provide the coverage while you’re safely tucked away in your basement or bathtub with smartphone in hand.